Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Rock versus ..?

So Gibraltar want to become a member of UEFA and particpate in qualification for the World Cup and European Championships. In four months time there wishes may be granted.

The Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) has taken its case to Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) who have insisted UEFA consider Gibraltars appeal - again.

The GFA tried to join UEFA back in 1999, when FIFA declared it cannot join as it is not an independent state. UEFA now currently have 'nations' similar to Gibraltar - such as Faroe Islands, San Marino and US Virgin Islands - amongst its membership list.

Of course, Gibraltar is still an area under dispute between Spain and England, so if it goes to a UEFA members vote then there is every chance it will become a political vote rather than a sporting voting - which would be a shame.

I dont see Gibraltar becoming a threat to the bigger nations, including England and Spain, so lets hope they see sense and vote with a sporting frame of mind.

For the record, Gibraltars population is less than 30,000 and covers an area of 2.25 miles - which is something like Charlton on a match day.


Kedge said...

Oh No! Not another minnow swelling the already bloated ranks. Not that I have anything against them per se, but with all these little nations entering the competitions, it means the group stages are becoming unmanageable, and we end up with lots of almost pointless fixtures in an already overcrowded season.

I know that some people argue that these smaller nations will only improve if they have the chance to play against the stronger teams, but if they get totally thrashed each time, then that improvement will be slow at best or more likely non-existant.

Maybe a pre-qualification league is neeeded, so that these smaller nations can compete on more equal terms and then the top 3 or 4 could be accommodated into the main competition. Then we may see an improvement over time.

And to correct a statement in Smart's post (good post that it is), The US Virgin Islands are a memer of FIFA not UEFA. I think being the other side of the Atlantic might just rule them out of Euro 2008.

Kedge said...

Shortly after posting the above comment, and as if to prove me wrong, I saw the results of the latest roung of matches where San Marino were a little unlucky to be narrowly beaten by Germany............


Smart said...

Northern Ireland 3 Spain 2

I agree with what you are saying though, and the thought of a pre qualification round a la Champions League and WAFER Cup are seemingly enivitable.

PS - Are you SURE that the US Virgin Islands arent in Europe? ;-)

Chris said...

I can only agree with you, Kedge. I too have nothing against Gibraltar but for a 'country' which is barely big enough to have its own football pitch, I don't think it's appropriate to consider Gib as a genuine team.

That said, Gibraltar provisionally gained membership to UEFA about two weeks ago so don't be surprised if they end up in the World Cup qualifiers for 2010...

Lol... I've got to laugh... in the name of research, I've just been educating myself on the Gibraltan national football team, and it turns out that they play in a biennial competition called the 'Island Games'.

It's a bit like the Olympics but on a £10 budget, really. A number of sporting giants including Bermuda, Greenland and the Falkland Islands take turns to host the event in which they get to pick 12 to 14 sporting events, one of which is usually football.

In the last Island Games football tournament, Gibraltar actually reached the Final, but sadly they were beaten by the mighty Shetland Isles 2-0. Mind you, that was probably because the Shetlands had home advantage, of that I have no doubt.

What really makes me laugh is that the Island Games regularly has a golf competition. Are wooden clubs banned, do you think?!?

Smart said...

If Gibraltar can take part in the 'Island Games' when they are not an Island, then surely becoming a WAFER member is a formality!

Chris said...

Well it's nearly an island... :-)


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